FIRE UP YOUR LEGS

WOMEN ON BIKES. NOT JUST A DU­BI­OUS IN­STA HASH­TAG, IT’S A REV­O­LU­TION (EX­CUSE THE PUN). THE IN­VEN­TION OF THE BI­CY­CLE SPAWNED A NEW-FOUND IN­DE­PEN­DENCE FOR WOMEN: TRANS­PORT, PANTS AND, UL­TI­MATELY, HEALTH AND FIT­NESS

Women's Health (South Africa) - - FRONT PAGE - BY AMY HOP­KINS

In the 1890s, morn­ing spins be­came all the rage in Parisian high so­ci­ety. For the first time, this spurred de­sign­ers to cre­ate “less-re­stric­tive” cloth­ing for women. Bloomers, as they were called, be­came a sym­bol of in­de­pen­dence – and in many other coun­tries, re­bel­lion. Now cy­cling seems to be go­ing through a resur­gence. Badass gals are travers­ing moun­tain tops and muddy ter­rain and us­ing bi­cy­cles as an en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly com­mute, plus it’s a se­ri­ous way to get fit and main­tain a healthy life­style. And while I’m not sure that we’ll ever trans­port We­bers and chil­dren via our bikes (I’ve seen this in Am­s­ter­dam), lo­cals are start­ing to sell their cars and in­vest in hy­brid bikes as a means to get around our con­gested cities. Run­ning had al­ways been my favourite sport, but this time last year – thanks to the WH Staff Fit­ness Chal­lenge – I got it into my head that I wanted to try “cy­cling”. Now I have a moun­tain bike and a road bike and I’ve com­pleted what are ar­guably some of the tough­est sin­gle­day races in SA: The At­tak was Ex­treme (120km off-road) and the Coro­na­tion Dou­ble Cen­tury (202km road race). All within the space of six months. And so can you. Yes, I’m in on all the cloth­ing jokes – and I’m still try­ing to get rid of my ridicu­lous tan – but, like any other sports uni­form (hockey socks, rugby shorts), the gear (and the tan) makes you a part of the tribe. So, if you, like me, are in­ter­ested in test­ing out the two-wheeled world of de­rail­ers, full-sus and drop­pers (more on those later), use this fea­ture as a guide to get you go­ing.

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